AutoID & Data Capture Blog

NFC Technology Gaining Traction with Consumer Device Manufacturers

NFC is being integrated into an increasing number of consumer electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.  For example, over the past few weeks, Samsung, RIM, Nokia, HTC, LG and Fujitsu all introduced new smartphone models with NFC functionality.  The increased integration of the technology into consumer devices places NFC directly in front of the end user, which in turn will stimulate demand for the solution as users become aware of its capabilities.  This ‘pull’ demand will result in more enterprise-level investment in NFC infrastructure and application development.

A similar scenario recently occurred with barcodes.  Increased sales of smartphones and the resultant application development boom led to consumer demand for mobile barcodes (barcodes digitally displayed on a mobile device).  The installed base of scanners was not able to read the barcodes on a screen.   Scanner suppliers reacted by rapidly introducing devices capable of supporting mobile barcode applications.  More infrastructure has stimulated demand for more application development, which will then create more demand for devices and infrastructure – and this cycle continues.

Despite a limited number of NFC applications – and enterprises capable of supporting them, the consumers (and supporting enterprises) of these smartphones can use their devices for payment, couponing, loyalty, marketing, access control, data transfer and ticketing.  Examples of these include:

  • ATM (operator of the Milan public transit system), in partnership with Telecom Italia and Samsung, recently introduced a NFC ticketing pilot on its network of buses, trams, and subways
  • In St. Petersburg, Russia, the Metro transit network has been piloting NFC ticketing in conjunction with NFC provider Ambiq and the Russian telecom company VimpelCom
  • Optical Discount, a French eyewear retailer, introduced a NFC based loyalty card program in partnership withAdelya
  • The Royal Dutch Hockey Federation, in partnership with Multicard (a division of Identive Group), NXP and Rabobank, introduced mobile payments to attendees during a June tournament

The chicken and the egg question for this market appears to have been answered…omelets anyone?


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